So I quit playing ToS, because I found it to be boring as all heck, and instead I've picked up my Xbox controller to give Operation Darkness a try. To give my initial thoughts on the game, I think it would be easier to create a list of pros and cons with short explanations. I know a bunch of you have probably tried the demo on XBL, but hopefully, I can share some more information on this game.
I think I'll start with the bad...
Like all SRPGs for the newer consoles, the look of this game begs the question of why it is on the 360 instead of the PS2. Just like Disgaea 3 and most every other SRPG we've seen screens from so far, I can't see anything in this game that the PS2 couldn't handle. Maybe the FMVs wouldn't look as crisp, or maybe they couldn't have added all the dust or snow effects on the maps, who knows. All I can say is that I've seen better shaped human character models in Dreamcast games. It's not bad, if you don't really care about graphics, but it is something that is worth mentioning for the majority who do.
Of all the things I read in various opinions of the demo, the camera was the #1 complaint. I'll be first to admit that this game has a wonky camera, but it all seems to stem from what I'd think is one small piece of bad script. Every time your character takes a turn the camera shows their face, the problem is that the camera the doesn't spin around to show what they are looking at, instead leaving the camera looking at the front of your character. If the game had just spun the camera around after showing your character a whole lot of camera moving could have been avoided. To compound the issue, the stick that controls camera movement is way too loose, so the camera will move very quickly on screen. This is something I am starting to get used to, but it will take some more time.
After six battles, I still have no idea how to tell my characters hit range in squares on the screen (beyond the movement range). This is a pain in the butt, since I basically have to guess how far I can throw a grenade or shoot a gun (etc...). The biggest part of this problem is that a bit of strategy in SRPGs involves moving your characters just inside the hit range of the enemy you want to attack, trying to stay as far away as you can. So far, that just isn't possible in this game. It can also be a bit frustrating to move your character, thinking you're in range for an attack, only to come up a bit shy and have to leave your character a sitting duck on the battlefield. If it weren't for the fact that healing items are easy enough to obtain (at least so far), this would be an even more serious problem.
4. Map Design:
When you enter a battle, your characters are at a serious disadvantage every time. Often there is no cover for your party when attacking an enemy position. I suppose this is realistic of war (I mean why would the enemy design their bases with bunkers for the enemy?), but it is different than almost every other game in the genre I've played. Once again, the lack of cover leads to a sitting duck syndrome, especially when there are tanks on the map and you have to wait for your party members with bazookas to get their turns before the rest of your party can advance.
5. Cover System:
This game has a cover system thing going on in battle, but I still haven't really figured it out yet. Truth be told, it seems like more trouble than it's worth, but I am sure I'll have to figure it out before too much longer. As it is right now, I don't understand it and I don't like it, but this could change. Until then, I'll just stick to straight up fighting.
The characters in this game are nicely done, not in terms of their 3d representations really, but their character portraits and voices are top notch. I love that none of your characters have an American accent, at least not yet. As all of the party members are from Britain or Ireland (etc...) and they all have the appropriate accents and slang, which while sometimes it gets a bit carried away, does sound kind of nice. In other words, be prepared to hear a lot of "mate", "jollies" and such.
Camera was a bad thing wasn't it, so what's it doing in the good list? Well, it turns out that many of the camera problems are also the result of a nice touch if I do say so myself. When attacking an enemy, the camera does these neat little tricks to show enemies being taken down. Most of the time, the camera will sort of, like, follow the bullet, and it is a pretty cool effect to what could have otherwise been shown in a very boring way. Over time, these animations start to repeat themselves, but it hasn't gotten old yet, so no complaints there.
3. Rob the Dead:
Want to find a new weapon, or stock up on healing items without having to spend KP on the over world map? Rob the dead bodies of fallen enemies and you can find all types of nifty stuff. I don't know how many other people playing this game will do what I've been doing, but in every battle, I've been leaving one enemy alive until I've searched all of the dead soldiers for loot. It is kind of cheap, but then again, maybe the people making the game expected a bit of this type of play? Who knows...? The only bad thing is that it isn't worth picking up stuff you don't need, since you can't sell it at shops later and also because each character can only carry five weapons and five items each. This point leads in to...
4. Equipping Characters:
From the over world menu, you can save your game, buy some supplies with KP (kill points) and also customize your party members. Customizing your characters is a breeze, in my opinion. Each character can carry five weapons and five items. While you'd think it is best to load them all up with as much as possible, if you did, you'd slow them down with the extra weight of the items and be limiting their ability to raid the fallen on the field. Instead, it is best to give your troops the weapons they are best with, maybe a couple of healing items and some more ammo and that's it. It's a very easy setup and I like it.
Some parts of the story so far have been hokey as it gets, but that's to be expected. A game involving WWII, Nazis, Zombies, and the cult, all set to the background of WWII information is killer though. It's a very nice, if way far out there, set up. I dig it so far.
So that's about it. There are other things I could talk about, like the flow of battle, etc.., but I think I'll hold off on giving my opinion of such things until I've played more of the game. The reason for this is that some of these things might change later in the game, so it'd be unfair to comment on them, not to say that my above opinions aren't subject to change too though.
Overall, I'd say this game isn't as bad as I'd read. I doubt many of you will buy this game, but I figured I'd give an initial opinion anyways. I'll be sure to update as I keep playing with more information. read